A Saturday conversation on comments

Comment TrollI missed the running Twitter debate between Mathew Ingram and Howard Owens on anonymous comments on Saturday; the weather in Knoxville was just too nice to stay indoors and on a computer.

But, thankfully, Ingram has recapped it.

I think the reliance on persistent identity from technologies such as Facebook Connect and OpenID could render the debate moot, but neither “real names”  nor “quasi-verified identity” will solve the problem of racist, sexist and just plain hateful speech in Web site comments from the likes of comment trolls as in the drawing on the right. Some people just think that way. And here’s a news jolter: Not everyone is nice.

It would be wonderful if all comments were erudite, thoughtful commentaries on the issues, but forget it, it’s not going to happen. It wouldn’t reflect your community anyway.

Putting resources to comment management is one of the keys to keeping the conversations in bounds. The power of reputation is another. Raising the value of reputation can come through “real names,” persistent identity or by merely making the user’s profile more important on a site.

I’ve been collecting links on Delicious about Web site, particularly newspaper Web site, comments for at least a year as part of the APME Online Credibility Roundtable the Knoxville News Sentinel held. A Webinar at Poynter’s NewsU. continued the discussion.

Update: Steve Buttry joins the conversation and Steve Yelvington has a take.

Here’s the most ones I’ve tagged  (if there are others that should be on this list, please let me know):

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